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Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Tweet Of The Day

It's rare to see a corporation not only put a #douchebag in their place, but encourage an environment of awareness and maturity about a topic that shouldn't be taken lightly.

This is why even though I may not like most of what they have on their menu, I still eat at Applebees on a regular basis.  They're good people.

This Is Why We Can't Have Nice Things... marriage for same sex couples, or equal rights for the LGBT community.  When, as a collective, we take one major step forward (marriage legalization in New York), some idiots have to put us two steps back in the eyes of our detractors.  I'm speaking of the "anarchists" that laid waste to the Capitol Hill area of Seattle late Saturday night after their local Pride festivities.

According to Seattle station KOMO, several hundred people swarmed the neighborhood shortly after midnight.
"The mob marched down 12th Avenue and Broadway, yelling and chanting. Some carried rainbow flags, while others carried red-and-black flags and wore masks.
Eventually some people started smashing store windows, damaging property, spray-painting slogans and bashing in the windshield of a patrol car.
During the melee, a bank ATM also was damaged. Windows were smashed and spray-painted at an American Apparel store and at a luxury car dealership.
"It was just a walk down the street - it was a dance party down the street - and some idiot started throwing things," said one young woman who was there.
Some people in the group, described as anarchists, apparently chose to use Gay Pride Weekend to send to message of protest - upset at how much gay pride is now part of the commercial mainstream."
Vandalized storefront of American Apparel store.
The (anarchists/gay pride attendees/vandals) supposedly felt that the gay community, especially around Pride season, was being exploited by corporate America.  That is why they targeted American Apparel in particular.

American Apparel has a line of Legalize Gay brand t-shirts and underwear.  Some of their designs say "Repeal Prop 8".  Some are in partnership with the Human Rights Campaign.  American Apparel does not disclose how much profit they make per item, or how much of the proceeds from the line, if any, go toward LGBT friendly charities.  This is what their website does say:
"American Apparel believes that sexuality should be celebrated, not condemned. When California voters passed Prop 8 in 2008, we let our community know we would support whatever stand they wanted to take. American Apparel believes in freedom, expression and equality, things that are inherently condemned in the prohibition of gay marriage. After printing a few hundred Legalize Gay t-shirts for a rally near our factory in downtown Los Angeles, the company received thousands of requests from people all over the world who asked for us to expand it. 

With many of our employees and customers identifying as gay, lesbian, bisexual or transgendered, we are a company that is vocal about our support for the protection of gay rights. Scores of our employees were on the frontlines of protests in cities across America, handing out hundreds of Legalize Gay t-shirts to supporters, and putting them in our store windows in protest of violence against gays and discriminatory court decisions. We also had a lot of fun at PRIDE rallies and celebrations. We've since given away over 50,000 of these shirts, run protest advertisements nationwide and even partnered with HRC for their enormous march on Washington. "
Hell, their products are even made in California, so they're supporting the local economy.

I remember, just two or three years ago, when you wanted to find a queer friendly shirt, you had to make it yourself.  In 2009, our only resource for a simple rainbow t-shirt for Pride was CafePress.  Two short years later, Old Navy has not one, but two different "Pride 2011" shirts to chose from in their stores.  That's right...Old Fuckin' Navy.

When it comes to LGBT related purchases, I believe you should try to shop from within your local community first.  Believe me, you'll always find a wider selection and more knowledgeable staff when going through your local gay or lesbian owned bookstore or clothing store.  Sometimes, there isn't one in your area.  Thank god for companies like AA.

We're a demographic now.  Isn't that what we have been fighting for all along:  inclusion?  It's the nature of the Free Enterprise system to create and sell products based upon demand.  Even in 2011, there are few Fortune 500 companies in the United States that have the...let's face it, balls to openly market themselves to the queer community.  If they turn a profit by selling a $12.00 shirt to a gay kid, so that he can proudly wear it at school, that is fine by me.

But for people to attack them because they're one of the few companies out there that are "out of the closet"?  How dare they?  Hypocrites.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Well, The Surgery Didn't Kill Me

I'm still here, and I'm relatively pain free.

When I woke up on Monday afternoon, it was a bit of a mind fuck to be honest.  I looked at my wife, and in my head I'm thinking, "Shit.  My back feels great.  They must have me on some nice painkillers."  Then logic crept in.

"Wait a second.  They wouldn't give me painkillers while I was still under anesthesia.  They would have to know my pain level and go from there.  Otherwise, they'd probably kill me.  Right?!?"  (Keep in mind, all of this is running through my head over the course of a second and a half.)

I'm still looking at my wife at this point, and the look on my face goes from confusion to pure joy.

"Hey baby!"

I sat in my hospital room for almost 7 hours before the nurses actually pressed me on my pain.  They asked how I was feeling.

"I'm doin' great."

"Are you feeling any pain?"

"No.  Not really"

"Well, on a scale of 1 to 10, what would you say that you're at?"

"About a 6, but you have to realize that I was at about an 8 before the surgery.  And, that was with Dilaudid."

I did have a couple of "complications".  Your disc is supposed to be somewhat of a spongy consistency.  When my doctor opened my back up, the disc was entirely calcified.  It was essentially bone.  They had to chip away at it with a drill to get it out.  It hadn't fused to my spine, so it was floating between my discs, (which was my L5 and S1 by the way.  I thought it was between L4 and L5.) so when I stood, I had sharp bone pinching my spinal cord.  No wonder I was in so much pain.

The calcification usually doesn't occur in someone unless they are a lifelong, heavy smoker.  The doctor was shocked to find out that I didn't smoke or drink.  I never have.  He said I have the back of a 65 year old man that has been smoking for the last 50 years or more.  I clearly have multiple back surgeries in my future.

Since the disc had to be drilled away piece by piece, what would have been a one hour procedure turned into four hours.  The doctor also had to move some of my nerves around to get all of the pieces out.  As a result, I have had some nerve/numbness issues on my left side.  For the first two or three days, I couldn't feel most of my left arm or anything in three fingers in my left hand.  As of 11pm last night, and currently, I have feeling in my left leg.  It's completely dead.  When I'm walking, I don't even feel my foot touching the ground.  Supposedly, I should get the feeling back in the next few days.  If not, I may have to walk with a cane for a while.

Sure beats the pain or the collapsing bullshit that I've had to deal with for the last few months.  By the way, even with the numb leg, I haven't had a loss of my legs.

All in all, I call things a success.

My Third "Twitch Day"

On June 25th, 2009, I was diagnosed with Tourette's Syndrome by my neurologist.   Coincidentally, it was also the day that Michael Jackson died.  I heard the announcement of his death on the radio as we pulled into the parking lot of the doctor's office.

Since then, June 25 has been deemed "Twitch Day".  Last year, my wife and I went out to dinner to celebrate.  This year, I am recovering from back surgery, watching 'NY Ink'. (Jesus, I need to find something on Netflix.)

It's been a tumultuous two years.  A lot of ups and downs.  It surely doesn't feel like two years.  More like ten.  TS....the twitching, the stuttering and jerking and shouting have all become part of who I am.  To be honest, I can't picture myself without it anymore.

I am Twitch, as much as I am Adam.  

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Quick Medical Update aka I'm Having Surgery Tomorrow

So, I don't remember what I talked about on my last medical update, and it's 11PM, and I'm in no mood to read through past blog posts right now.

Here's what's going on......

Turns out that the disc that is between my L4 and L5 is herniated.  I knew that.  What I didn't know what that it was cutting off my spinal cord.  The disc above that one is almost just as bad.  Fortunately, it's still a couple of millimeters away from the cord at this point.  This explains the loss of bowel control and the inability to walk over the last three months.  In fact, for the last three days, I have had problems walking.  I have been stumbling and collapsing worse than any other time since this ordeal started.

Long story short,  I'm having spinal surgery tomorrow.  I have an excellent surgeon.  When Jennifer Grey injured her back on 'Dancing With the Stars', she flew to Scottsdale, AZ, after filming to see my doctor.  He is the official surgeon for the Phoenix Suns, the Phoenix Coyotes, and a number of other NBA teams.  I am in good hands.

I have, for obvious reasons, been feeling despondent in recent weeks.  I have a long, and motionless, recovery ahead of me.  For the next three to four weeks, per doctor's orders, I am to lie on my back in bed.  No walking.  No driving.

Maybe I'll start writing again.  I don't know.